MHCLG rules out calling in 2,500-home Warwick scheme on former green belt site

Plans for a 2,500-home mixed-use scheme on a former green belt site outside Coventry will not be called in, the secretary of state has confirmed, despite lobbying by local politicians and campaigners opposed to the project.

MHCLG: Kings Hill call-in ruled out
MHCLG: Kings Hill call-in ruled out

Developer Lioncourt Homes secured outline permission from Warwick District Council last December for its proposed housing development at Kings Hill, which also includes up to 4,000 square metres of mixed-use floorspace, a primary school, and a secondary school.

The application site was removed from the green belt in 2017 and represents part of a broader 4,000-home allocation in the Warwick local plan.

Recommending approval, officers advised that the application was in accordance with local planning policy.

However, the application was opposed by local Conservative councillors who argued these policies were supported by inaccurate population projections and said the scheme would lead to increased congestion and pollution.

Campaigners against the scheme had hoped housing secretary Robert Jenrick would intervene and call in the application for his own determination.

In a letter received by Warwick councillors earlier this month, a planning casework manager at the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) confirmed a decision had been made not to call in the application.

“The government remains committed to giving more power to councils and communities to make their own decisions on planning issues, and believe that planning decisions should be made at the local level wherever possible,” she wrote.

“The call-in policy makes it clear that the power to call in a case will only be used very selectively.

“The secretary of state has decided, having had regard to this policy, not to call in these applications. He is satisfied that they should be determined at the local level.”

In a Facebook update, Conservative councillors John Blundell, Tim Sawdon and Mattie Heaven said: “This is undoubtedly a significant setback and all three councillors pledge to do everything in their power to mitigate the impact of this huge and unnecessary overdevelopment. 

“In particular, they will continue to challenge the population projections that have been used to justify house building in Coventry and nearby, which they consider to be inaccurate.” 

Andy Faizey, strategic land director at Lioncourt Homes, could not be reached by Planning. However, he told Coventry Live: “We were surprised that this had been the subject of a call-in request given the proposal has been considered by both Coventry City Council and Warwick District Council and that the inspectors to both of their local plans had found this to be sound.

“Equally, both councils have considered the planning applications submitted to them and both voted to approve the planning applications.

“Given the above we were pleased but not surprised the secretary of state has decided there was no reason for the applications to be called-in as in essence this development meets the government’s housing agenda.

“We continue to work with all three councils – including Warwickshire County Council – to arrive at a section 106 agreement which in turn will release the planning permissions to us. The reserved matters applications will then follow.”

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